Kendall strikes as North Ferriby go six clear at top
NORTH Ferriby claimed a vital 4-2 win at fellow promotion contenders Witton Albion to stay top of the EvoStik NPL Premier Division.
Coupled with Hednesford's draw with Ashton United, the victory saw Ferriby extend their lead to six points.
Witton were the first to threaten, Mat Wood's deep cross bouncing off the crossbar in the opening 10 minutes, but overall it was Ferriby who started the brighter.
After winning the ball in the air, Ryan Kendall threaded a low ball across the box for Chris Bolder to rush onto, but the midfield talisman fired just wide.
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However, a combination of Bolder and Kendall led to the visitors' breakthrough on 23 minutes.
Bolder's through ball released Kendall one-on-one, and though keeper Matt Cooper slid in to halt his march on goal, strike partner Anthony Wilson was on hand to bury the rebound.
Three minutes later, the hosts levelled when Adam Nicklin did well to keep out Steve Foster's header from Danny Andrews' cross, but couldn't stop Danny Meadowcroft knocking in the follow-up.
Witton spurned a gilt-edged chance to take the lead when Gregg Anderson tripped Steve Foster in the box, but Anthony Gardner's spot kick hit the post.
Ferriby's reprieve was only temporary, as on 33 minutes Josh Hancock's slice across goal was lifted over Nicklin by Foster to make it 2-1.
The reply was almost instantaneous, when two minutes later Kendall kept his feet in the box, held off two defenders and expertly guided the ball around Cooper and into the bottom corner from a tight angle.
Ferriby's top scorer capped off an utterly thrilling first half by restoring his side's lead, running onto Danny Clarke's long ball and curling into an empty net after having his first effort blocked by the onrushing Cooper.
Witton began the second period with purpose, and Ferriby had to withstand heavy pressure as Foster teed himself up for a half-volley that went just over, and Hancock's bobbling low drive was fractionally wide.
Ferriby's first-half attacking confidence returned and it seemed only a matter of time before they would put the game to bed.
Kendall had a dangerous chip deflect just wide, and soon afterwards cut inside to ping another effort similarly just off-target.
The final blow was at last dealt on 79 minutes, when substitute Steve Ridley fired a free-kick into the box, and though Cooper saved well from Wilson virtually on his goal line, Anderson loomed at the far post, with his effort striking the upright and the crossbar before finally bouncing down behind the line.
Bolder could have added a fifth when he drove Fry's corner just wide a short while later, but four proved enough as Ferriby picked up a hard-fought three points.
Weather-permitting, the Villagers will be back in action tomorrow, as they attempt to play their twice-postponed League Cup tie at Sheffield.
Ferriby: Adam Nicklin, Steve Gardner, Nathan Peat, Liam King (Russell Fry, 63), Gregg Anderson, Paul Foot (c), Danny Clarke, Chris Bolder, Anthony Wilson, Ryan Kendall, Ryan Williams (Steve Ridley, 77) Subs not used: Gary Bradshaw, Oliver Banks, Antoni Pecora.